Be Kind and Laughing Game will carry more than their allotted weight in this opener, though both are ridden by claimers. Paradise Expected hasn't shown much lately and Days of Pleasure also has a bit to prove but Kap West has dropped in the weights since early summer and must have place claims again. HANDSOME BUDDY is 3lb lower than when a fair second over course and distance and June and showed a bit more over hurdles back here last month. He may just enjoy a fitness advantage over Royaume Bleu so gets the nod.
Handsome Buddy (IRE) 10-1 (10-9) In touch in mid-division, headway 3rd, went 2nd 7th, every chance 3 out, one pace last, 4th of 12, 7l behind Artic Night (10-8) at Worcester 2m 7f hcp hdl 0-100 (5) gd in Sep.
Royaume Bleu (FR) 6-1 (10-3) Led, reminder after 5th, ridden before 3 out, joined 3 out, soon headed, lost 2nd 2 out, weakened soon after, 5th of 9, 19l behind Quarl Ego (11-5) at Fontwell 3m 4f hcp ch 0-110 (4) gs in Apr.
Kap West (FR) 9-1 (11-6) Held up in touch, hit 3rd, weakened before 4 out, went poor 3rd after last, no impression, 3rd of 5, 29l behind Forever My Friend (11-12) at Ffos Las 2m 5f hcp chs 0-95 (5) gd in Jun.
Paradise Expected 33-1 (11-6) Mid-division, lost place 7th, soon behind, no danger after, last of 9, well behind Midnight Charmer (10-6) at Uttoxeter 2m 5f hcp 0-100 (5) gs.
Days of Pleasure (IRE) 12-1 (10-13) Tracked leaders, not fluent, mistake 3rd, lost place after 5th, behind 13th, no impression after, 6th of 11, 48l behind Five Out Of Five (11-4) at Stratford 2m 7f hcp chs 0-95 (5) gf in Aug.
Be Kind 150-1 (10-3) Towards rear, mistakes, in rear and struggling from 8th, last of 7, well behind Claret Cloak (11-3) at Towcester 2m nov chs (4) gf.
Laughing Game 8-1 (9-9) Chased leaders, mistake 11th, soon weakened, tailed off, pulled up after 13th, in a race won by Alteranthela (10-11) at Plumpton 3m 2f nov hcp chs 0-95 (5) gs in Mar, 6 ran.